After Elevating Connections started reconnecting siblings who had been separated by the foster care system, we soon became concerned for foster children in general who lacked meaningful friendships and resources to help them through their everyday lives.
This led us to develop our Youth Connections line of programming for youth in and out of the foster care system ages 14 and older.
Even individuals who have been emancipated from the system are welcome to benefit from these programs. No one ages out of Elevating Connections, regardless of their actual age. If someone needs our support and resources, we are happy and willing to provide them.
Read on to discover the two exciting opportunities we offer under our Youth Connection line of programming for young people in and out of the foster care system.
Empowering Youth Expressions
Youth in the foster care system are craving opportunities to make connections and express themselves. Our Empowering Youth Expressions programs exist to open up a new world of possibilities for foster youth as they learn to make lasting friendships and express themselves through diverse art mediums.
Meaningful friendships and self-expression can help young people experience more positive outcomes in their lives. Every child is unique, and every foster child deserves the chance to show and tell the world who they are in their own special way. Young people in the foster care system are facing complex emotions, and channeling these emotions through art is crucial for helping them process their feelings in a healthy way while creating incredible art for the world.
Here are the two opportunities in our Empowering Youth Expressions programming.
Two-Day Art Retreat at Camp Shady Brook
Two-Day Art Retreat
at Camp Shady Brook
We offer a two-day retreat at Camp Shady Brook for youth to engage in art workshops including painting, music, comedy, writing, and more. We craft the activities to help youth build trust while cultivating relationships with each other and the volunteering adults who pour themselves out for the kids. For many of the kids, it’s an experience unlike they’ve ever had before.
Youth will spend the retreat enjoying a couple of days in the mountains away from the hustle and bustle of city life so they can focus on exploring their artistic sides. They will brush shoulders with adult professionals who show kids that they can use their talents and interests to express themselves and even make a living. Everyone has a way to express themselves, and kids will learn during this retreat how to open up and use their talents to reach their goals.
We started our Poetry Jam in 2018 as a way to give youth the opportunity to speak their truth through the arts. Since then, this event has grown and become one of our most popular programs. Our volunteers also look forward to it because it is an amazing experience you have to see and hear for yourself to truly understand.
During the Poetry Jam, youth take the stage to tell their story in their own words through spoken word. They articulate their thoughts to educate the audience on what it’s like to be a current or former foster child. They use their own voice to talk about their own lives in whatever words they choose to express themselves. We don’t edit any of the work. We just let the kids speak for themselves and experience the joy and catharsis of self-expression.
The Poetry Jam happens every May, which is Foster Care Awareness Month. We are excited for 2023 and beyond, as we’ve expanded the event to include other art forms including comedy and music through which kids can tell their stories and express themselves. As a result, kids will become part of a broader artistic community, forging more relationships that can make their world brighter and more hopeful.
We look forward to expanding our offerings even further in the months ahead, including an Arts Festival that will launch in May 2024. This will give the greater community an opportunity to interact with and experience the youth and art for themselves. We know everyone will be blown away by the talent and personalities that will be showcased.
Youth Assistance Program
The Youth Assistance Program from Elevating Connections provides technology support to older youth living on their own in the foster care system who need it. Many of the youth lack access to the internet, which is crucial for education and socialization. But even more important than that, a lack of internet access for some older youths living on their own means they are unable to connect with their support systems.
Elevating Connections seeks to even the playing field by providing internet access along with helping with phone bills to restore connection, tablets, and more to older youths in need. This ensures they have a line of communication to their support and gives them necessary resources to flourish in their situation.
We also provide emergency food funding to help youth in the foster care system get through difficult times. And besides offering short-term help, we make sure the youth find long-term solutions to meet their needs.
Elevating Connections understands the importance of being creative. But it can be hard to be creative if a youth lacks access to basic needs like food and communicative technology. Our Youth Assistance Program meets those needs so older youth living on their own or youth who were in the foster care system and have since turned 18 can spend more of their energy on expressing themselves through their creativity.
Be a Part of Reconnecting and Meeting the Needs of Youth in the Foster Care System
At Elevating Connections, we believe relationships and self-expression are the keys to personal and social success for youth in and out of the foster care system. But we need your help to ensure the youth have their needs met so they can focus on their art and friendships while finding their confident voice to speak into the world.
Please donate to our cause today or give of your time by volunteering at one of our events. With your help, our Youth Connections line of programming can continue positively impacting the youth in our community. Contact us today to learn more.
You Can Help Reconnect Siblings Separated by the Foster Care System
Sibling relationships should be given the same priority as the parent-child relationship, and that’s why we exist. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our Sibling Connections programming. You can also sign up to be a volunteer if you would like to get personally involved.
Do you know foster children who have been separated from their siblings? They could be the perfect candidates for our Sibling Connections programs. Complete the referral process to take the next step toward positively impacting the youth in your life and helping them forge lasting relationships with their siblings!